Outside Europe, the main partners of CEN and CENELEC are National Standardization Bodies (NSBs) and/or National Electrotechnical Committees (NCs), members of ISO and IEC, as well as other regional standardization organizations.

CEN and CENELEC cooperation with other NSBs and NCs may take different forms, depending on the concerned countries’ relation with the EU, their main areas of work, and their level of interest in strengthening their trade links with Europe.
Observing an increasing interest in the European standardization model, its features and deliverables, among foreign countries and regions, CEN and CENELEC have revised their foreign partnership concepts in 2016.

From January 2017, the following formal cooperation models are available to interested national and regional standardization bodies located outside Europe:

  • Affiliate status for the NSBs/NCs of a country formally recognized as a potential candidate or a candidate country for EU membership;
  • Companion Standardization Body (CSB) status for all other NSBs/NCs that are not eligible to become CEN and/or CENELEC Members or Affiliates;
  • Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) for regional standardization organizations;
  • on an exceptional basis, Cooperation Agreements can also concluded with the NSB/NC of a country that has a strategic importance for the EU.